Letter from the President
[Sine Larsen] Sine Larsen

This is my 12th and last Letter from the President. When I started as President of the IUCr after the Congress in Osaka three years ago, I considered writing these letters as one of the challenges of the job. English is not my mother tongue and writing the Letters is obviously different from writing scientific papers. Therefore I am grateful for the positive comments on “my Letters” that I have received over the last three years. This has been a great encouragement for me in my work as President.

The International Year of Crystallography 2013 has been mentioned in many of the Letters. It is the centennial of the birth of modern crystallography that was the motivation for holding an IYCr. The idea to use X-rays to study crystals developed rapidly almost 100 years ago in a small number of laboratories all over the world. At the recent AsCA meeting in Busan I participated in a dinner with other senior crystallographers. Going back to our supervisors, and the supervisors’ supervisor etc. it was interesting to note that we were all able to trace our scientific background to these few groups of pioneering crystallographers, our crystallographic grand- or great grandfathers.

I am happy to report that the IYCr receives support from many different international organizations. Recently the ICSU Executive Committee agreed to support the proposal that 2013 should be the IYCr and this will be on the Agenda for the ICSU General Assembly to be held in Rome in September. The IYCr was endorsed with strong support from the Scientific Board of UNESCO International Basic Sciences Programme (IBSP). The Board is an Advisory Body to the Director General of UNESCO and gives recommendations on the various actions with which UNESCO may wish to be associated. The Director General of the Board gives a strong recommendation to UNESCO’s Director General, advising that UNESCO should secure a formal establishment of the year and its successful implementation. The link between large facilities such as synchrotrons and neutron sources will be an important component of the IYCr. The International Centre for Synchrotron Light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East, the SESAME synchrotron project in Jordan, is an intergovernmental organization under the auspices of UNESCO. The SESAME council expressed its strong and unanimous support to the IYCr at its recent meeting. In close interactions with the IBSP the Moroccan crystallographers are leading the onerous process of presenting the proposal to UNESCO, to which process other countries will hopefully lend their support. I would like to use this opportunity to thank all the crystallographers that are helping to make the IYCr a successful reality. July 1 is the deadline for the logo competition; the proposals submitted will be examined carefully by the IUCr Executive Committee, so the logo selected can be presented at the Madrid Congress in August. The triennial IUCr Congresses represent a unique opportunity for you to meet colleagues, to learn about recent achievements in your own field of research and to obtain a good overview of the scientific richness of crystallographic research. It has always been a rewarding experience for me to attend the Congresses, and I have attended all but one since I entered the field. The Programme Committee for the Madrid Congress has made an exciting and interesting programme, and the Spanish crystallographic community has devoted a lot of effort into making the 22nd Congress a memorable event for the crystallographers that come to Madrid from all over the world. The Ewald Prize award ceremony has been an important part of the Opening Ceremony since 1987; in Madrid this event will be even more festive, as the ninth Ewald Prize will be given to three crystallographers who each in their own way has contributed to the development of crystallographic methods and software: Eleanor Dodson, Carmelo Giacovazzo and George Sheldrick (see Page 23). So let me finish with the wish that I have the opportunity to meet with many of you in Madrid, to plan the IYCr.

Sine Larsen (sine.larsen@maxlab.lu.se and sine@chem.ku.dk)